Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Schwifty Schwifty - WTF?

Oh boy, its going to be an ugly year methinks.

Remember last fall? The Oilers got off to a decent start, thanks mostly to Roloson and two guys, ah, what were their names ... Smyth and Sykora.

Hmmm.

Last year's D in the fall included Smith, Staios, Shaggy, Hejda, Bergeron, Smid and Greene.

So four of the top five in that group are gone. Presently their replacements are Pitkanen (good), Tarnstrom (good in your third pair, maybe passable if paired with Staios in your second), Grebeshkov (rook) and Gilbert (pictured above - rook). So considering last season's D were both too green and too Greene, How do you like them now? Two more rookies and a lot more Matt Greene (either in the first or second pair).

One of Lowe's flunkies said that they were definitely still going to add someone up front. Uh, what about the back end, pal? Poor Roloson. At least Garon looks to be a decent pickup. I liked Jussi but this guy looks like an upgrade.

We've been waiting since the beginning of last July for Lowe to get some help for this team on D. It probably only cost them a playoff spot last season. What's another year or two anyhow?

Danny Markov is available again - the more things change ... anyhow I'm thinking Doug Wilson might want to get on the horn to him.

As for the lads up front, well, the vaunt was a bust and now Smyth, Sykora and Lupul (thankfully) are gone. So your forwards are set as follows:

Moreau/Stoll/Pisani
Torres/Horcoff/Hemsky
Nilsson/Pouliot/Thoresen
Sanderson/Reasoner/Brodziak
Jacques, Stortini

They're small, they're young and they don't score. Now you may want to shuffle things about a little. Torres, Stoll and Pisani worked well together last season. For that matter so did the same two wingers and Pouliot.

Pouliot is destined for the top nine and I think its what they have to do. Maybe he gets soft minutes with Hemsky. Maybe he works with Moreau and Pisani. Or maybe Hemsky, Horcoff and Torres get some tough sledding.

Options are limited.

Ideally, seeing as this is a rebuild, Lowe makes a move for a building block of the Pitkanen variety but unless he can do it for picks and prospects its not going to help the team win any games this season. He has few pieces teams might want. And who is available and who is dumb enough to give someone like that up for futures?

There are a few UFAs still out there. Shanahan, who will likely return to the Rangers (although one year of Shanny with Stoll or Pouliot and Hemsky might be fun) and then there's Guerin, Mike Johnson and Fedotenko. Any of those three would help, I would think.

They could trade for Glenn Murray or someone of that ilk.

Or they could give Robert Nilsson top six minutes and battle it out with the Yotes and the Isles for that #1 pick overall.

They have a ton of cap space (around 36 million on the present roster by my count). I guess Lowe has to weigh whether giving Nilsson and Gilbert and Pouliot their ABS is more important then spending enough money to at least be competitive most nights. Adding Guerin, Markov and Fedotenko for example gives you a lineup that might look like this:

Fedotenko/Horcoff/Hemsky
Torres/Stoll/Pisani
Moreau/Pouliot/Guerin
Sanderson/Reasoner/Thoresen
Brodziak, Jacques

There you have three lines that can grind it out and score a little and a fourth that likely can hold its own. Plus a D with Markov/Pitkanen and Tarnstrom/Staios

Still likely losers but not as bad as what we're looking at right now.

My guess - two of Pouliot, Nilsson and Thoresen are in your top nine forwards to begin the season.

Er, yikes?

EDIT - Fedotenko has signed with the Isles ... uh, Mike Johnson?

ADDITIONALLY - This just in, this year is going to be a bag of suck because, apparently, there is no plan. Today's papers, quoted at length around the Oilogosphere, make it clear that Kevin Lowe is a defeated man on his way out the door. What a fall from grace from June 19th of last summer until today.

5 comments:

Scarlett said...

So up front, we've lost Sykora, Smyth and Lupul. That's 35% of your goal production. This is going to be a loooooong year!

All Blog Spots said...

nice blog

uni said...

Ah fuck it. I'm going into insanely positive denial mode where everything is rose-coloured and scented like pumpkin pie, just like I did when I showed up 75 minutes late for my advanced programming final.

I believe in miracles.

Horcoff will regain his point per game form.

Hemsky will sit next to Kaberle on a plane and take to heart his advice to simply shoot more and come out with a 40 goal season.

Nilsson will be everything his father was on offence plus a mean hard-nosed gritty defensively responsible player.

Stoll will recover fully from his concussion but his memory will be woozy and a fast thinking Reasoner will convince him that he's Messier circa 1990.

Thor will become a 2 way force ala Lethinen.

Torres's wife will turn him into a wrecking ball that posts 30+ goals a season after instituting a "no goals no nookie" rule in their household, with extra credit for injuring opposing players that aren't beloved former Oilers.

Pisani will realize that he can't only score in the playoffs, and will score 30 goals settling for the closest thing to crunch time other than the playoffs, i.e. in the 3rd period.

Pitkanen will be everything that Pronger was and a bag of chips, but with the attitude towards Edmonton that Ninimaa had.

Gresbeshkov will be the steal of the decade, becoming an amalgam of other Russian defensive stalwarts of recent memory, with the defensive savvy of Fetisov, scoring of prowess of Gonchar, and physical destructiveness of Konstantinov.

Smid will be Albelin with better offensive numbers, compesating for his inability to shoot with his awesome laser precision passing abilities.

JFJ will get a pep talk from Messier as he passes by him at MSG and start playing with the same confidence he's had in the AHL.

O'Mara will be injury free and become the next great young power forward.

Staios will be the 35 point +1 player that we all love.

Tarnstrom will QB the PP and fill in the 6th D spot with a 55 point season.

Greene will be a solid steadying defensive presence, much like Mr. Jackman in St. Lois.

Gilbert will continue to be as smooth as a gravy biscuit and exceed the potential we saw last year.

Pouliot and Brodziak will both be dominant 2-way forwards in the Marchant mold. Only with Pouliot being a 95-point player as well.

All good things, all the time. Puppies wearing parachutes will also rain from the sky.

Oh, and Lauren Pronger will contract genital herpes and warts, and Nylander will suffer with crippling erectile difficulties the rest of his life.

Just you wait and see. I called it here first.

Black Dog said...

uni - whatever you're drinking, send it this way

uni said...

Rickards Red. I started beer Friday earlier.

Hell I'm just happy I didn't make too many spelling mistakes and pledged undying love to Lupul.

I'm gonna grab another pint and start the good vibrations going again.